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Protect Your Family from Financial Ruin

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What moms can learn from the third worst bank failure in U.S. history.

When IndyMac was seized on Friday by the federal government (due in large part to the nation's mortgage collapse), customers were alarmed. Branches were closed, and IndyMac account holders wondered if their money was gone forever. Panic set in. The federal government assured people they would reopen the bank on Monday under the new name Indymac Federal Bank. Regulators said they would run the bank until a buyer was found.

But since IndyMac was FDIC-insured, people's money was safe, right? Not necessarily. Many didn't know this until now, but the FDIC only insures up to U.S. $100,000 per deposit account ($200,000 for joint accounts), and up to U.S. $250,000 per retirement account at insured banks. Federal regulators say up to 10,000 people had more than that in their accounts, so they'll lose money. The FDIC COO says they'll initially pay just 50 cents on the dollar of all uninsured deposits.

Countless people had their life savings and kids' college funds in IndyMac...and had no idea they were not fully insured. Yesterday, hundreds lined up for hours to withdraw what they could from the failing institution.

IndyMac is the fifth bank to fail this year. Are our bank accounts safe? Manhattan-based financial advisor Sue Adams says it's imperative moms do the following:

1) Know if your bank FDIC-insured. This is critical. You can do a search for your institution here. If it's not insured, move your money immediately--or you could stand to lose it all.

2) If you have more than $100,000 in a single account (or $200,000 in a joint one), you need to pull it out and place it in another FDIC-insured bank, or else you could face the same fate as some of these IndyMac customers.

3) Keep up on financial news. IndyMac has been in trouble for a long time, and the warning signs were widely publicized. If you start hearing your own financial institution is in trouble, pull your money out sooner rather than later.

In the wake of the IndyMac collapse, are you tempted to put your family's money under the mattress?

6 comments so far | Post a comment now
Anonymous July 15, 2008, 10:35 AM

This scares me to death. Every day I worry about going into foreclosure and I have a job. But I am worried about what would happen if I got laid off and we lost it all. Does anyone else feel this way?

Kate July 15, 2008, 11:12 AM

I think that we all fear the loss of a job. It would be devastating! My husband and I decided to try to save up 3-6 months worth of expense money in case one of us does lose our job. It’ll be really hard to save it, but since my husband’s company is trying to be bought-out, I fear that he could lose his job.

Anonymous July 15, 2008, 11:21 AM

I guess having no savings is worse than losing it all. Either way, we need to get our act together and protect our kids. Are we the only ones in this boat?

Anonymous July 15, 2008, 1:37 PM

Confession: I don’t have a college savings fund set up or a 401K. We are living paycheck to paycheck. I am terrified I will be broke at retirement or won’t be able to send my kids to college.

SugarPlumFairy July 15, 2008, 1:45 PM

So scary! I can’t even imagine.

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